The Book of Broken Hearts officially hit the shelves on May 21st, which is, like, YAY! But it hasn’t hit all the shelves. Which is, you know, BOO! I’ve been debating whether to blog about this situation, hoping against all odds that it would resolve itself. But it hasn’t, and now that I’ve officially heard from readers who’ve had trouble finding the book at Barnes & Noble, I wanted to let you know what’s going on.
The Situation (super short version of a boring tale of corporate woe)
Just because a book is published doesn’t guarantee it a spot on the store shelves (even if the stores have successfully sold an author’s previous books). B&N, like all brick and mortar book stores, decides which books to shelve in its physical locations–sometimes nationally, sometimes on a store by store basis–and they order those titles directly from publishers. Additionally, publishers pay for premium placement of books–those “Summer Reads” end cap displays and colorfully arranged stacks on the tables are all sponsored by publishers (it’s called “co-op”), and the rates and terms are negotiated, like so many things in the book biz.
My publisher for The Book of Broken Hearts is currently in negotiations with B&N, the nature of which I don’t fully understand–it’s too crazy-making to follow, especially when I need to be working on the next book! But the bottom line and bummer of it all is that they’ve yet to reach an agreement. As a result, B&N has cut orders drastically on many of my publisher’s titles, including mine. So, unlike all of my previous novels… super sadface… The Book of Broken Hearts won’t be available in many B&N stores.
It’s a difficult situation. As an author who’s still trying to connect with new fans, I rely on the only remaining national chain bookstore to help grab the attention of random browsers, people who’d only discover The Book of Broken Hearts by seeing it on the shelves, picking it up, and giving it a chance. Now, I’ve lost the opportunity to connect with some of those new readers. And longtime fans who walk into a Barnes & Noble specifically looking for a copy might be disappointed to learn it’s not in stock.
Many of my author friends are in the same boat, and we’re all just trying to support one another and keep our chins up. It’s one of those tough breaks in a business that’s full of constant ups and downs, good news and bad. It’s one of the many reasons writers consume so much chocolate and wine. 🙂
But before you join me in the group ugly cry, wait! All is not lost, because…
Dear Readers and Friends, You Can Help!
If you’re interested in reading The Book of Broken Hearts (or any S&S title affected by this situation), there are still lots of ways you can get your hands on a copy and help support your favorite authors:
- Shop indie. Independent bookstores rock. They’re super supportive of authors, passionate about the books they carry, boosters of the local economy, curators of local literary events, and they’re eager to help you find exactly what you’re looking for (and maybe some stuff you didn’t even know you were looking for). My favorite indie is Tattered Cover here in Denver, but you can find a store close to you on IndieBound.
- If B&N is your store for all things bookish, and your local B&N doesn’t have The Book of Broken Hearts on the shelves, ask them to order a copy for you.
- Order a copy on Amazon.com or BN.com (the online site should always have copies available, regardless of in-store stock)
- Purchase it online as an ebook
If you’ve already read the book (thank you!), and you want to be especially awesome and earn lots of virtual hugs and chocolate-covered gratitude, there are a few other ways to show the love:
- Post a review on Amazon.com or BN.com. This is hugely helpful. Like spotting new books on the store shelves, honest reader reviews help other readers with similar tastes discover new books. Plus, as a book earns more reviews online, it tends to show up more often in search results and in “readers who liked this book also liked that one” promos.
- Ask your library to order a copy for their collection. Libraries are another local resource for readers and authors alike, and they’re a great way to help readers discover new books.
- Tell a friend. If you’ve got a reader friend who might enjoy the book, tell her about it! Better yet, get her a copy as a gift! (wink wink)
- Encourage reader friends to lather, rinse, repeat on some or all of the above. 🙂
Did Someone Say Chocolate?
You guys have already been so supportive and amazing–from those first joyful days of seeing Twenty Boy Summer on the shelves in 2009, to every new book release since. I mean it when I say that I wouldn’t survive this career if not for you. Seriously. Without readers and fans, I wouldn’t be a writer. I’d be a person who hangs out in PJs all day entertaining the voices in her head, wondering who ate all the chocolate. So to all of you, whether you’re longtime fans or family members who are forced to be fans, whether you’re a teen or just a young adult at heart, whether you’re a librarian or a blogger or a bookseller or a publisher or a fellow author, THANK YOU. For reading, for sharing your love of books with the world. For being such awesome and supportive bookworms. For giving me the honor of telling stories for a living, no matter how hard the business side of it gets. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Hugs. Chocolate. More hugs.
I’m on it, Sarah! My review will be up next week ( I think I scheduled it for next week), and my local public library currently has 15 copies, for my county. I’ll see if I can run some giveaways! I’ve got you, Sarah 🙂
Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!
Alyssa, that means so much to me! One comment in and I’m already getting choked up. THANK YOU! xo
Hi, Sarah! You generously support the writing community–including those of us still working toward publication. (That’s a whole lot of good writing karma heading your direction.) You can count on me to read everything you write–and spread the word!
I will write an Amazon review! I really loved this book so much. I tried to gush in my tweet to you but the limited characters make it hard. Seriously…the scent of her heartbeat? Total best. line. ever.
Julie (Berk) Mackey
I’m so sorry you, and all the other authors affected, are going through this. Writng a briliant book is hard enough. Heck, writing any book is like trying to push water uphill, so the idea that at the end of it, that book doesn’t get the attention it deserves is outright crazy-making, to quote you and Scott Westerfeld. 🙂 But you writng IS brilliant, and the audience WILL find it. Any way I can help, I’m on it!
My library system ordered 11 copies. I’m so excited to share your newest book with my patrons, as I have your previous titles. Readers will find your books, no matter if it’s at B&N, Amazon, or the library. 🙂
i can’t believe the book isn’t in b&n yet. i bought mine at your book signing or else i totally would have gone in to get a copy. i haven’t had a chance to read it yet but will definitely post a review once i do.
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I’m half-way through and LOVING it. Will absolutely post a review when finished, and help spread the news!
Reblogged this on Beth Christopher and commented:
Sarah Ockler is the uber-talented author of four books — Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, Bittersweet, and the newly released The Book of Broken Hearts. She’s also a mentor and friend. I’m halfway through the Book of Broken Hearts, and despite my attempts to read and study it as a writer (Sarah is a master at characterization and emotion) I get sucked into the story and disappear in her world of forbidden motorcycle boys and family drama. Though it was released last week, it hasn’t hit the Barnes and Noble shelves yet, due to negotiation snafus between the store and publisher (which Sarah details in the link). Fans of Sarah Ockler undoubtedly know about the book’s release, but I hate to think of a potential new reader not discovering this dreamy book at the bookstore. Click on the link for deets on how to get your hot little hands on this great read.
Can’t wait to read your new novel Sarah, and I’ve GOT YOUR BACK with all of the above. xoxo
Sarah, I am a teen librarian in Greece, NY, and I adore your books. I am reading this one now for my blog – yes, we own all your titles! I LOVED Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer. Keep plugging – it angers me how much B & N controls the market. I buy Amazon or indie.
Best of luck to you, Sarah! Just look at all those pretty covers of yours on the sidebar! Such an accomplishment! =)
I pre-ordered the book because I have read (and ordered for the high school library) ALL of your books. WHY? Because they are amazing!
Heading off to order a copy right now! The cover is beautiful, btw. I’ll be sure to read and review it on my blog ASAP. http://readingjunky.blogspot.com
Sally aka RJ
Sarah-I’ll definitely do what I can – we authors must stick together! The same thing happened with my book, FACT OF LIFE #31 five years ago. B&N didn’t carry it and readers who wanted to get the book there were not happy. If you walk their YA shelves, it’s full of mostly bestselling titles. But to become a bestselling title, it helps to have your books on the shelves, but to get your book on the shelves…you get the picture. Good books deserve a chance to be found and I know yours is better than good. Can’t wait to read it! Hugs…Denise
I picked it up today at the Chapters/Indigo by my house! So atleast for us Canadians it seems like it will be kept in stock at stores:)
But I do hope that B&N will stock it soon!
It is so disappointing to hear that great books (and having read and loved The Book of Broken Hearts, I speak from experience) are not finding their way into the hands of readers because of some corporate squabble. I have found your books at my local B&N, but I’m off to post my review of BoBH on B&N.com and support the cause for all those others who aren’t as lucky as I. Keep that chin up:)
here is your German translator of The Book of Broken Hearts. It was an honor and a pleasure to translate this wonderful story and I do hope it will do well here in Germany. It comes out in August and I am really excited about it because it managed to capture my heart. Congratulations! As for the big chains like B&N, it is the same here in Germany. Such a pity, that so many wonderful books never get a chance.
Best wishes from Katrin
Hi Katrin! Thank you so much for visiting my blog, and for your kind note about The Book of Broken Hearts (and of course — for your hard work in translating it)! I’m glad you enjoyed the story — I’m excited to share it with readers in Germany too. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂
I miss you Sarah Ockler!